• United States

Pinpointing performance

May 18, 20042 mins
Data Center

* You can't manage what you can't measure

How effective is your IT organization? As we’ve all heard before, you can’t manage what you can’t measure. Implementing an IT performance measurement program helps pinpoint problem spots and improve the quality of services delivered.

Last week, I attended a Meta Group seminar on best practices for IT performance measurement. Useful performance information includes IT spending, organizational effectiveness, IT and business alignment, performance of specific technology domains, and more. Meta’s Jeff Rumburg outlined the key principles for designing and implementing a performance measurement program. 

According to Rumburg, traditional metrics by themselves do little good. They only have value if they drive positive action to improve the organization. Meta proposes a 360 degree solution that scrutinizes performance from all angles. While Meta offers this as part of a complete consulting package, these recommendations are also useful for organizations that seek to implement performance measurement programs on their own.

Here are the key components Rumburg outlines:

* Industry-spending comparisons. IT spending differs dramatically by industry, with financial services firms laying out the most money for IT and manufacturers among the most frugal. To get an accurate picture of where your company fits in, you need to compare your spending to your peers and industry averages.

* Cost benchmarks. You need to know how much it costs to run various towers of IT, such as mainframes, distributed computing, desktops, voice network, data network, application development and maintenance, and help desk. Likewise, price benchmarks help judge the price competiveness of outsourced IT functions.

* IT effectiveness survey. Rumburg suggests polling a small population of users each month on satisfaction rather than conducting a blast survey that’s done once a year. This lets you catch dissatisfaction early on and correct it. IT also needs to poll the lines of business for their assessments about IT strategy alignment with business goals.

* Operations assessment. This should cover eight critical areas – operations planning, process development/refinement, rapid assimilation, product development and definition, centers of excellence, organizational structure, metrics and performance reporting, and service-level agreements. Armed with this data, you can develop a roadmap for improvement.

For more information, go to You can find a portion of the presentation material in the notes from a separate Meta Group teleconference – go to